Our Heart’s Most Basic Need

I know the story of man who had been in prison for many years for a crime he did not commit.  As the years passed, someone noted that he did not appear to be bitter about his predicament.  He answered that even though what he was living through was entirely unfair, he knew he was loved; therefore, he could survive.  The love of and belief in his innocence by his wife and children was enough to get him through each day.

I know the story of a child who was abused by her own father.  One day she ended up in the hospital because he had beaten her nearly to death when she fought back against his sexual advances.  Today she runs an organization in her community, set up to help and offer a way out to anyone in an abusive relationship.  When asked how she got through her ordeal with such resolve to help others,  she answered, “I was loved.”  A school teacher was always there for her.  She came to her in the hospital, offered her a place in her own home when she was released, and encouraged her forward in pursuing her education.

I know the story of a man who died on a cross, enduring all the sins of the entire world although He was innocent.  Today He lives on in the hearts of all who will receive Him.  How could He love those who nailed him to a cross?  How can He keep loving today all those who continually speak terribly about Him, mocking His love and His life, rejecting everything about His gift of eternity to be with Him in a world where hate does not exist?  His answer is because He is loved by His Father.  His Father loved Him and the whole world with everyone in it.  Therefore, He, too, can love.  He is the epitome of love.

Love overcomes anything.  Love strengthens the human resolve to press on in the most impossible of circumstances.  Love gives hope where it appears no hope can be found.  Love is never-ending.  Everyone of us needs to be loved and to love another.  Love is the most basic of all our emotional needs.  Without love we would be utterly lost.  There is nothing more valuable to aspire to than to being a vessel of love.

“Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong.  And do everything with love.”  I Corinthians 16:13-14

The Love Of A King

A few days ago I watched a Christmas special on TV.  There was lots of singing followed by a Christmas message by pastor and author, Dr. David Jeremiah.  He shared a story he had been told many years ago.  He said it impacted him and broadened his understanding of God.  I was intrigued and listened carefully.  This is the story he shared:

Centuries ago there lived a King in a faraway land.  He was a good king, paying attention to the poor, doing what he could to help them.  One day he noticed a peasant girl.  Her clothes were rags.  His heart went out to her and in time he admitted to himself that he loved this peasant girl.  This was a great dilemma for him.

He longed to have the company of this girl he loved but their worlds, though near in proximity, were far apart in every other way.  What could he do?  As the King, he could command the girl be brought to him.  He could demand she marry him.  He could dress her in the finest of clothing and adorn her with expensive jewels.  He could have the girl; he only need speak the word.  But no, he wouldn’t do that because he knew that was not love.    No, he decided firmly, he would not demand anything of her.  He thought and thought.  Finally, it all became clear to him and he knew what he must do to let this peasant girl know how much he truly loved her.

The King gave up his throne.  He left his riches behind.  He became a peasant and lived among the poor, working hard every day just to earn enough for bread and sometimes porridge.  He befriended the peasant girl.  He showed his love for her and in time she gave her love to him.  They married.  Years later the King revealed that it was he who had been king of the land.  She was astonished.  She asked why he had left all the comfort of his palace?  He replied simply, “Because of love, my dear, I became as you, to feel as you, to experience as you do.  I gladly left the glories of my home to show you how much I love you.”

When Dr. Jeremiah finished the telling of this story I, too, was impacted with a fresh wonder at what Almighty God did all those years ago in sending His one and only Son, Jesus.  Jesus left the wonders of Heaven to become one of us, to live as us, to experience as we do.  He gladly left heaven so we would know how much He loves us.

“So the Word became human and made His home among us.  He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”  John 1:14

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in His will not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

Merry Christmas, everyone.  I hope you know Jesus.  The life He gives us is out of this world!

Behind The Bells And Lights

All the stores are decorated for Christmas.  Lighted trees, inside and out, wreaths hung on the doors, arrangements of brightly colored boxes, carols playing, the salvation army ringing bells, Santa listening to excited requests of children — such happy displays of this joyful season — or is it?  For some, yes, of course.  Excitement fills their hearts; but for others, Christmas can be a sad and lonely event.

Is there anything we can do to help?  Oh, yes!  God gives us a wonderful reminder of what we can do to reach out to hurting people:  Look at the following in I John 4: 9-11:

“God showed how much He loved us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.  This is real love.  It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  Dear Friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”

Christmas is a lovely season to remind ourselves, and others, of the greatest gift ever given.  Do you know that gift?  If not, Father God holds it out to you today.  You only have to receive it.  Open your heart and say, “Yes, Father, I want that gift of forgiveness available through your Son, Jesus; I want that abundant life You have for me, today on earth, and for eternity in heaven.  Yes, thank you, Father.”   Did you know that, when you receive God’s gift, that He comes to reside right inside you?  He does that by His Holy Spirit.  He takes up residence to be your peace in the storms of life, your joy in times of sadness, your courage when you’re feeling weak, your wisdom when you don’t know what to do.  God takes up residence to guide you through all your days.

It’s a wonderful gift.  Have you received it?  If so, have you shared with someone else how, they, too, can receive it?  Christmas is a lovely season for giving gifts, and sharing the gift of God’s love is the most wonderful and happy gift of all.

Merry Christmas to you all, with much love.